Historical setting: 584 C.E. Eve’s house
A small bench has been brought into this room and Daniel and Ezra bring a frail and aged man in and he is seated on the bench. He is clear-eyed in a monks robe; the fringe of his tonsure is pure white, not the silver of the Nic I remember. His hands are shaking like a choir director who has lost the tune. Eve brings his cane and places it near his hand. He thanks her with a very soft voice, and when he turns I see this is indeed Nic.
“Nic!” I think he didn’t hear my voice. I am not sure my speech was actually a word, but I am sure I made a sound. He looked at me as though he’d heard.
So softly he speaks, “I don’t hear well now, and apparently you don’t speak well either. So it’s best I do all the talking. How strange a paradox that is. But it is the blessing of old Simeon that I have lived to see you alive again.
“I have to say, your death is the strangest journey we have yet traveled together. And I do see your rising now to be a promise for us all. Isn’t that supposed to be the purpose of this life gift that you suffer with forever, to be a physical metaphor of the spiritual resurrection? Oh, excuse me. I fear I’m reaching for the sermon and I’m not ordained for sermonizing.
“It was as you thought, that Ligugé was a monastery whose abbot would accept a man of age, an old soldier to be among the monks. He let me keep a horse for a while also. I took my sword and my father’s iron tunic and had them melted and hammered into tools for tending your daughter’s herb gardens here. I learned that from the prophet. I know it was intended as a metaphor, ‘to hammer the swords into plowshears.’ But I chose to take it literally, so that the peace it speaks of may be of earth as it is in heaven. It is not just the spiritual peace of becoming a monk. As my sword was hammered into better purpose so have I been.”
If I could be heard speaking I would tell him that he is sermonizing again. And I’m waiting to hear him unwind some stories of these years I’ve been missing.
He reads my expression.
“Oh, you would rather hear me tell you what has happened while you were dead than listen to a sermon. Of course.”